Local group provides annual community art events

LSAA+has+a+permanent+art+gallery+in+the+basement+of+the+Peter+White+Public+Library+and+frequently+hosts+public+programs+and+events.+One+of+their+most+popular+events+is+Art+on+the+Rocks.%0APhoto+courtesy+of+LSAA

LSAA has a permanent art gallery in the basement of the Peter White Public Library and frequently hosts public programs and events. One of their most popular events is Art on the Rocks. Photo courtesy of LSAA

Abigail Zeman

On September 25, 1951 at 8 p.m., a group of 51 adults gathered at the Landmark Inn, then named the Hotel Northland, to discuss forming an art and craft association which was named the Lake Superior Creative Arts Association. Later renamed the Lake Superior Arts Association (LSAA), the organization would be known to sponsor nationally recognized art events, such as the juried Art on the Rocks show.

Watercolor artist Michele Tuccini was involved with the organization for 25 years before becoming LSAA’s Board President. She began attending the organization’s programs as she started painting.

“A lot of things have remained the same over the years, which is in itself amazing,” said Tuccini. “But we’re still creating new opportunities for the arts.”

LSAA has a permanent art gallery in the basement of the Peter White Public Library. Past events have focused on Halloween makeup, ceramics, the e-commerce website Etsy, fabric, all paint mediums, glass and wood. They frequently host free public programs demonstrating on a variety of topics.

“We try to mix things up,” said Tuccini. “We can’t just have painters every time, because I like to paint.”

LSAA is looking for students to demonstrate their special crafts at a program which is a paid opportunity, said Tuccini. College students are encouraged to get involved in the organization, even if they are not a member.

“We want to feature and encourage youth to participate,” said Tuccini. “Members are helpful like mentors with advice on both the business and artistic side of things.”
Full-time NMU art and design students can apply for the annual LSAA Memorial Scholarship, which in honor of Anita E. Meyland who founded Art on the Rocks.

The arts show began in July 1959 on the rocky hillside of the Father Marquette statue, overlooking the ore dock and marina, according to the Art on the Rocks webpage. Only 35 artists and craftsmen participated, displaying mainly paintings, sculptures and ceramics.

Art on the Rocks grew exponentially and moved to Presque Isle Park five years later to accommodate for the rapidly growing artist applications. In 1964, Art on the Rocks gained national recognition in a feature from Time magazine, according to the event’s webpage.

The article labeled Marquette, “A good place to spend the summer.” The fine arts show currently resides in Mattson Lower Harbor on Lake Superior. This year’s Art on the Rocks, scheduled July 28 and 29, will mark the event’s 60th anniversary, and feature some winners from the 2017 Art on the Rocks.

Every program and exhibition LSAA puts on is free for both artists and attendees, said Tuccini, apart from the booth and jury fee for artists participating in Art on the Rocks.

“That’s what’s so great about this organization,” said Tuccini. “You don’t have to pay to get in.”